Formation and interdependence of disinfection byproducts during chlorination of natural organic matter in a conventional drinking water treatment plant

Xiaoxiao Zhang, Zhonglin Chen, Jimin Shen, Shengxin Zhao, Jing Kang, Wei Chu, Yaoyu Zhou, Binyuan Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


It is crucial to explore the source, formation process and interdependence of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) to reduce their risk on public health. In this investigation, a source water was chlorinated to evaluate the initial formation rates and the maximum yields of trichloromethane (TCM), dichloroacetic acid (DCAA), and trichloroacetic acid (TCAA) based on a hyperbola model. The results showed that TCM achieved the highest initial formation rate and maximum theoretical concentration compared with DCAA and TCAA. The TCM yield can be used to forecast the yields of DCAA and TCAA throughout the whole reaction process, and the yields of chloral hydrate (CH), dichloroacetonitrile (DCAN) and 1,1,1-trichloropropanone (1,1,1-TCP) within the initial reaction stage. Besides, the raw water, settled water and filtered water collected from a drinking water treatment plant were divided into five fractions, respectively, by ultrafiltration membranes to evaluate their DBP formation after chlorination. Compared with the medium molecular weight species, high and low molecular weight organic matters exhibited relatively high specific regulated and unregulated DBP yields (expressed as μg/mg C), respectively. Humic acid-like compositions predominantly contributed to regulated DBP yields, while soluble microbial by-product-like compounds preferentially generated DCAN. The correlation study revealed that the TCM could also serve as an indicator for the measured DBPs from chlorination of sample fractions with different molecular weight. Finally, it was found that the theoretical cytotoxicity was enhanced during chlorination of filtered water compared with chlorination of settled water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125227
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Disinfection byproducts
  • Hyperbola model
  • Molecular weight distribution
  • Natural organic matter
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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